Pope hails role of St. John Paul in Berlin Wall's fall

Commemorating the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, Pope Francis said the sudden end to the division of Europe was prepared by the prayers and sacrifice of many people, including St. John Paul II.

After reciting the Angelus prayer Nov. 9 with visitors in St. Peter's Square, Pope Francis spoke about the 25th anniversary of the wall coming down, a wall "that for so long cut the city in two and was a symbol of the ideological division of Europe and of the entire world."

Advertisement

"The fall was sudden, but it was made possible by the long and hard commitment of many people who struggled, prayed and suffered for it, some even sacrificing their lives," the pope said. St. John Paul II, he said, had "a role as protagonist" in the change.

During his lifetime, the Polish-born pope refused to claim personal credit for the collapse of communism in Eastern Europe, but he knew his preaching and his support for human dignity and freedom energized the forces for change, particularly in his homeland.

In a 1993 interview, Pope John Paul said, "I think the crucial role was played by Christianity itself: its content, its religious and moral message, its intrinsic defense of the human person. All I did was recall this, repeat it and insist on it."

Pope Francis, commemorating the wall's fall, asked Catholics to pray that "with the help of the Lord and the collaboration of all people of good will, there will spread even more a culture of encounter capable of bringing down all the walls still dividing the world."

The pope also prayed for an end to "innocent persons being persecuted and even killed because of their creed or religion."

"Where there is a wall," he said, "there is a closed heart. We need bridges, not walls!"

Comments are automatically closed two weeks after an article's initial publication. See our comments policy for more.

Advertisement

Don't miss the best from America

Sign up for our Newsletter to get the Jesuit perspective on news, faith and culture.

The latest from america

Formed in 2011, The Oh Hellos' Christianity is one of their foundational inspirations, evident in lines like "the only God I should have loved."
Colleen DulleJanuary 23, 2018
People gather at a June 14 candlelight vigil in Manila, Philippines, in memory of the victims of the mass shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Fla. Philippine Catholic bishops called for vigilance against bullying, ostracism and harassment of gay people in the wake of the incident in which police said a lone gunman killed 49 people early June 12 at the club. (CNS photo/Mark R. Cristino, EPA)
“We are losing three generations of people, and we need to hear why,” said Bishop Mark O’Connell.
Michael J. O’LoughlinJanuary 23, 2018
Supporters of opposition presidential candidate Salvador Nasralla clash with military police in the Policarpo Paz Garcia neighborhood of Tegucigalpa, Honduras, on Jan. 20, 2018. Following a disputed election marred by irregularities, incumbent President Juan Orlando Hernandez was declared the victor and will be inaugurated on Jan. 27. The opposition does not recognize Hernandez's victory and are protesting against the result. (AP Photo/Fernando Antonio)
“You will see many protests during his mandate...because Honduras hasn’t fixed its age-old problems of inequality, exclusion, poor educational and health system, corruption and impunity.”
Melissa VidaJanuary 23, 2018
I want to be able to serve the state better. I want to be able to serve more of the state.
Nathan SchneiderJanuary 23, 2018